Finding Home on the Katy Bike Trail
The Katy Trail is the longest continuous rail-trail in the country. It runs 225-miles from Missouri’s eastern border to nearly all the way across the state in the town of Clinton. The trail attracts cyclists, hikers and other travelers from around the world to visit before returning back to their daily lives. But for our bike tour guide and manager, Teri Moore, the Katy Trail became home. Now, she shares her love for the route through our Katy Trail bike tour.
“I moved to this area because of the trail,” Teri said. “I found the trail by riding it with a friend, then decided to come back to live several years later, without really a plan but to be here.”
The Start of a Lifelong Passion
Teri was introduced to cycling when she bought her first road bike in 1993. Within the first year of her biking career, she rode the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI for short). She quickly fell in love with long-distance cycling. However, her first ever rail-trail experience was on the Katy some years later.
“I was a strict roadie,” she said. “I had never ridden a trail before, and really didn’t know anything about rail-trails. We even thought we would get in trouble for leaving our cars at the trailhead and riding away from them. I really had no clue.”
On the trip, Teri and her friend found themselves ill prepared at nightfall after a late start. Quickly, they started calling around to the local bed & breakfasts. They luckily found a place to stay for the night, even though they weren’t necessarily prepared to pay right then and there. The next morning they rode back to their cars with a whole new perspective.
The experience sparked Teri’s interest in rail-trail riding and later bike packing. Before long she was biking 1,200 miles on a solo tour utilizing the trail network in her home state of Illinois.
“Trails were my thing from then on,” she said. “What a wonderful way to travel!”
Years later, Teri decided to head back to Missouri on a whim and lived for a short while with the B&B owners from her first time on the trail. Eventually, she settled into a house overlooking the trail in one of the many quaint towns she had ridden through so many years before.
Life Along the Katy
Teri felt a sense of home on that very first ride on the Katy Trail. She describes it as finding her tribe in the people, landscape and seemingly endless biking.
“I loved sitting on the porch and watching the cyclists ride by daily,” Teri said. “Often our friends would ride by our house, wave and say hi. We could respond easily from a quarter mile away because the sound carried up the bluff to us.”
As she settled in, Teri started working at a bike shop that serviced cyclists along the Katy. Her life became rooted in the trail. She commuted to and from the shop using the trail and rode the trail to visit nearby towns. She became an advocate for biking, helping to cultivate a local community that was drawn to the Katy just like her.
Teri learned about bike guiding during her time at the shop. One day, she ran into two Wilderness Voyageurs guides that were leading a tour on the Katy.
“I told them it was my dream job,” Teri said.
Living the Dream
And that dream became reality. Teri guided her first trip with us along the Katy Trail in 2017. Her connection, passion and knowledge became invaluable as she shared the place she called home with others on our Katy Trail bike tour.
“I tell people if they want to know something about any part of the trail, I’m the person to ask,” she said. “I have driven it, I have ridden it and I have guided it end to end probably 35 times.”
With her extensive familiarity of the trail, Teri enjoys introducing new guests to the hidden beauty of an often overlooked state. To her, biking is the best way to show visitors the intricacies of culture, art and community found in each of the unique towns that dot the route.
While guiding along the trail, Teri regularly runs into past guests who have returned to the trail, friends who live and own businesses on the Katy and even some four-legged friends she knows on a first name basis. Any guests along for the ride with Teri often get more of a local’s perspective than one of just an outside visitor.
“I love helping people to have a great time riding bikes,” she said. “I hope our guests come away with a great respect for the trail, trail maintenance, trail experiences and Missouri in general.”
A Little Teri in Every Trip
Although Teri can’t guide every single trip along the Katy, there is a little bit of her in every trip. This year she has stepped into the role of tour manager beyond just being a guide. As tour manager, she is the one that shapes the experience that the guides facilitate. Her years of love and life along the Katy Trail can be felt throughout the trip.
And maybe, you might even see her waving from just beyond the trail or be lucky enough to have her as a guide when you join us on one of our Katy Trail bike tours.
Wilderness Voyageurs operates fully supported, inn-to-inn bicycle tours across the United States. We offer more rail-trail tours and biking destinations than any other U.S. based bike tour company.